Fellowship training is an excellent time to practice honing your skills in the teaching and medical education arenas. If you plan to pursue an academic career, the opportunity to participate in educational initiatives with trainees at all stages will likely play a significant role in your professional responsibilities. There are many ways to get involved in medial education as a fellow, however, these are likely to vary by program. First and foremost, let it be known by educational leaders at your institution that you are interested in these endeavors. They will be your champions and allies and help you look for ways to develop your teaching portfolio which can be an attractive bonus when it comes times to apply for faculty positions. who should you ask, specifically?
- Fellowship Program Director: This may seem obvious, but your PD likely shares a similar interest given the nature of their position. Aside from leading round and teaching the on-service students and residents. inquire about the possibility of developing fellow-led curricula or a lecture series. Some programs name a “chief fellow” who handles the more administrative and technical aspects of the program during their senior year. Incorporating teaching opportunities into this would be an excellent way to refine skills! Lastly, ask your PD if there are any leaders in medical education research present at your institution. If so, meet with them to determine if there are any scholarly projects you could join or develop alongside of them. There may also be opportunities for you to engage with and participate in activities affiliated with the APPD (Association of Pediatric Program Directors) or the PIDS education and/or Training Programs Committees so be sure to inquire about these as well.
- Pediatric Residency Program Director/Chief Residents: Morning reports, noon conferences. Residents are usually hungry for knowledge and Chief Residents are always more than happy to offer fellows opportunities to present at their conferences. Antibiotics 101 and case-based lectures are usually a big hit and if you offer yourself up to the residency training program, it can be guaranteed that you’ll get more than a couple of invitation to speak.
- Medical School Clinical/Rotation Directors: If residents are hungry, medical students are ravenous. get to know the pediatric clerkship directors and ask how you can get involved. Whether its staffing an associated free clinic, mentoring the students on clinical skills, or moderating small groups, they will be extremely appreciative.
Depending on your institution, you may have the opportunity to delve deeper into medical education by pursuing an MPHE (Masters of Health Professions Education) degree, joining your GME committee as a fellow representative (see “Committees” above), or by participating in various institution-led workshops on topics to medical education (e.g. feedback/evaluation, goal/objective writing, etc.). If you are reading this before you become a full-fledged fellow and you have an interest in medical education, be sure to research programs that offer formal mentorship and education in this topic area so that you get the best overall training experience.